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Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500

Motlow College ACE Program provides an Accelerated Pathway for Busy Adults to Earn a Degree

June 18, 2015

Samantha, a single mother of two young children, has come to realize that she must get a college degree in order to provide the quality of life for herself and her children. The problem is time.

Amelia Marquez works at Traders National Bank and is now pursuing her bachelor's degree after completing the Motlow ACE program. Motlow College Photo.
The Adult College Express (ACE) program at Motlow College is the answer for Samantha, as it was for Amelia Marquez, Alex Erkkila, Brad Luna and many others; and it may be the answer for you. ACE has established itself as a premier avenue for non-traditional students to earn a college degree around their busy lives.

The program is for adults over the age of 23 who are seeking to earn a degree in a team-oriented environment. ACE provides a cohort-based "fast-track" completion plan for busy adults and working parents. ACE students can complete a general studies degree within 24 months and can easily transfer to a four-year institution.

"The ACE program is an exciting opportunity for the working adult learner because a student can attend one night per week and finish an associate's degree in just two years," said Dr. Scott Cook, coordinator of ACE, interim assistant vice-president for academic affairs, and associate professor of history. "ACE provides a pathway for those with jobs and families to achieve their educational goals and dreams and to complete an accredited degree."

Through ACE, Motlow offers a convenient and affordable quality advantage for those adults who previously thought attending college was an impossible and daunting task. ACE students are typically able to attend just one class, one night per week; allowing them to maneuver around their busy schedules. Some math and science classes meet two nights a week.

Brad Luna graduated from the Motlow ACE program in 2012 and is the director of technology for the Lincoln County Department of Education. Motlow College photo.
ACE is offered at all four Motlow campuses - Moore County, Fayetteville, McMinnville and Smyrna. At each campus, students are able to bond with their classmates while forming their own cohort-based learning community. Classes are limited to 20 students, promoting an intimate learning environment. In these classes, classmates work together and support each other as they strive toward their goals.

Since the program began in 2007, ACE students have proven to graduate at a higher rate and with a higher grade point average than any other segment of Motlow's student body.

Not only do ACE students succeed at Motlow, they succeed in their careers as well. Graduates of the program have gone on to gain high-level professional positions in a variety of fields, including television production, automotive manufacturing, technology, and more.

"The program provides single parents with an amazing opportunity to achieve an education," said Marquez, a customer service representative at Traders National Bank. "This program applies to any life schedule and the rewards and possibilities are endless. It has provided me the opportunity to complete my bachelor's degree at Trevecca."

"The ACE program at Motlow offers a very well-structured program. Students can focus on one subject area at a time without having to juggle multiple classes," said Luna, 2012 ACE graduate and director of technology for the Lincoln County Department of Education. "The faculty and staff at Motlow are very accommodating. They realize that ACE students are not typical college students. They understand that we work full time jobs and are sacrificing time with our friends and family to attend college."

Alex Erkkila completed the Motlow College ACE program and is now a television producer. Motlow College Photo.
"Since I had two children and worked part-time, the ACE program was just what I needed," said Erkkila, who now works as a producer for WKRN-TV in Nashville. "Before I discovered the program I was just another statistic - a single mother without a college degree working in a low paying position."

Carrie Huckeby, chief marketing officer at Telecom Management Services and a 2012 graduate, credits her time at Motlow as the impetus of her current success. "The new program offered the chance to go to school one night a week, in a regular classroom setting, with each course being covered in five weeks," said Huckeby. "My daughter was in her freshman year of college and my son was almost 15 so it was good timing for me. I found the schedule to be very doable and I made some great friends while we took on the challenge together.

"After completing the program, I took on more responsibility in my position, started working for multiple companies in two other states as their marketing manager, entered a bachelor's program that was structured just like ACE and completed in 2012," continued Huckeby. "Today, at 52, I'm enrolled in an online executive MBA program and will finish in 2016. For me, the ACE program was the 'jump start' for a greater appreciation for higher learning and the opportunity to be better at whatever I choose to do."

With hundreds of Motlow College ACE program graduates throughout southern middle Tennessee and around the world advancing in their careers, the program continues to develop and produce successful graduates in business, industry and education.

"The ACE program gave me a chance to balance work, family and school," said Brian Lewis, a 2010 graduate who is currently a manager at Nissan. "The structure was exactly what I was looking for in a college program. I recently accomplished my long-term goal of completing my MBA. The ACE program was instrumental in achieving this goal."

For more information about the ACE program, please contact Dr. Cook on the Moore County campus at 800-654-4877 ext. 1810 or Visit the Motlow College ACE website at (

Additional campus contacts are Laura Monks in Fayetteville at 931-438-0028 or, Melody Edmonds in McMinnville at 931-668-7010 or, and Cheryl Hyland in Smyrna at 615-220-7800 or